You may have reached a point in life that it takes a little longer to accomplish projects than it used to. You may in fact need more time and assistance to prepare for and recover from a natural or manmade disaster. Prepare and plan now before disaster strikes.
Commit to activating your plan early so that you can “beat the rush” of last minute supply shoppers and evacuees.
In the event that you are advised to evacuate, leave early during the voluntary phase of evacuation to avoid extended periods of time on the road.
Prepare your home now: locate important documents, identify items that you wish to relocate for safe keeping, or that you will take with you in an evacuation; this will save you time later.
Contact your doctor to make arrangements for prescription refills, or if possible take advantage of increased supply during hurricane season.
If you have certain lodging requirements identify sources now before a storm threatens our area.
If you need assistance in preparing your home such as relocating outdoor furniture, plants, yard equipment, or in installing storm shudders, plywood or moving furniture in your home; identify now who will commit to help you. Also identify at least one alternate person to assist you in the event your primary helper is unavailable.
Establish a communications plan with a relative or friend outside of the area; let someone know your intentions and whereabouts.
Stock your home: It’s a good idea to stock a supply of food, water and supplies for any emergency. Any season can bring disaster and affect your ability to get to the store for food or medication. Even a simple water main break could leave you without water for a few days.
Emergency Phone Numbers: Post emergency phone numbers near the phone. Include police, fire, emergency medical, doctors, relatives, utility companies, insurance agent and the Emergency Management Agency.
Water: Each person’s need for drinking water varies depending on age, physical condition and time of year. The average person needs at least one gallon of water or other liquid to drink per day, but more would be better. Also keep a couple of gallons on hand for sanitary purposes. Store water in plastic, airtight containers and either replace or chlorinate it (4 drops plain bleach [unscented, non-detergent] per quart of water or 16 drops per gallon of water) every two months to be sure it is pure.
Food: Supplies should include enough non-perishable, high-energy foods to feed you and your family for up to three days. You may be stranded in your home for several days or local stores may run low on supplies. Also, if you go to a public shelter, it is helpful to take as much non-perishable food as you can carry.
Documents: Place important documents in a waterproof container such as a zip-lock bag and take them with you if you evacuate or store them in a safe out-of-harm’s-way location.
Medicines: It is very important to keep an adequate supply of any medicines you take. If you are stranded in your home or are asked to go to a public shelter, you may not be able to get medication easily.
Even though you have emergency supplies, don’t make the mistake of trying to “ride out” a hurricane at home. EVACUATE if local authorities tell you to do so, especially if you live near a body of water that may flood. Leave early before the roads become flooded and you cannot get out.
When you evacuate, you may wish to take some of the previously listed supplies with you, but don’t take more than you can carry. Put your essential emergency supplies in an easy to carry container such as a backpack or a duffle bag. If you are going to a public shelter, the most important items to take are your medication, a blanket, the portable radio, an extra change of clothing and perhaps a small supply of packaged quick-energy foods like raisins and granola bars. Make sure the bag has a tag with your name.
You can take certain actions ahead of time to make evacuation easier: Keep your gas tank as full as possible during hurricane season. In an evacuation, fuel may be difficult to get and gas-station lines will be long.
Team up with a “partner” a neighbor or a friend living nearby, to plan your evacuation together. By sharing supplies and a ride, each of you can help the other.
If possible, make plans in advance to stay with friends or relatives living inland on higher ground if you need to evacuate.
Learn the recommended evacuation route from your home to safer, higher ground. Local broadcasts will tell you where to go during an evacuation, but you can learn the safest route ahead of time by contacting your county emergency management agency.
Practice your evacuation plan. Take a lovely weekend and literally drive your evacuation route to become familiar with it.
Stay Aware of Weather Conditions
Listen to daily weather forecasts during hurricane season. As hurricanes develop, they are monitored closely by the National Weather Service. The Weather Service issues two types of notices about approaching hurricanes: a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning.